Barcelona have been having a rough time of it these past few weeks, but there’s a shining star on the horizon and it’s (probably) not Phil Coutinho. It looks like the club have reached an agreement with Borussia Dortmund to sign Ousmane Dembélé for approximately £138.4m.
Dembélé, who has spent the better half of August suspended by Dortmund after missing a training session, was on Barcelona’s radar for a while. However, the German club rejected a bid of €100m and Barça seems to be willing to head back to the negotiating table with a more palatable offer.
These rumours are coming from an official club spokesperson who spoke with a Catalonian newspaper (Mundo Deportivo, for anyone wondering) to let them know that negotiations are proceeding smoothly and an agreement has been reached ‘in principle’.
The question for Liverpool at this point is whether or not a Dembélé deal will affect Barcelona’s fourth bid for Coutinho at all. If the rumours are actually true, it seems unlikely that sticking to the £101m upfront + £37m in add-ons for Coutinho will pan out for Barça, especially given FSG’s adamant stance on not selling the midfielder. And despite the monumental windfall the club received with Neymar’s move, it seems unlikely that they’d be able to afford roughly £140m each for Dembélé and Coutinho.
The transfer window is almost over and, ideally, so is Barça’s desperation to replace Neymar and maintain some semblance of order. We’ll have to wait and see if Coutinho will be willing to take his frustration with Liverpool’s refusal to sell him to the press, but with Barcelona’s interest turning elsewhere, this doesn’t seem like the smartest move on his part.